Journal of Geriatric Cardiology 2012/9:4 PP.328-335
Background Pulmonary arterial systolic pressure (PASP) can be estimated with transthoracic echocardiography. However, the significance of raised PASP on routine echocardiography is uncertain. In this study, we evaluated the mortality and hospitalization rates of subjects with raised PASP in a cohort of patients referred directly by their general practitioners for routine outpatient (open access) echocardiography for further analysis of suspected heart failure. Results A total of 485 subjects were referred for open access echocardiography at our hospital in 2002. A cohort of 209/485 (43%) consecutive subjects with measurable tricuspid regurgitation were followed for a minimum of five years investigating hospitalization rates and survival. Some 62 of 209 (30%) subjects had pulmonary hypertension (PH). Subjects with PH were significantly more likely to have four or more hospital admissions (22% vs. 8%; P < 0.01) and > 30 days of cumulative hospital stay over five years (29% vs. 13%; P < 0.01). PH was significantly associated with mortality (P = 0.003), while moderate to severe PH was an independent predictor of mortality (hazard ratio: 4.31; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.51–12.30). Records from the Office of National Statistics revealed that subjects with PH were more likely to have chronic lung diseases recorded as immediate or contributory causes of death (50% vs. 14%; P < 0.05). Conclusions PASP ≥ 36 mmHg on routine echocardiography is associated with recurrent hospital admissions, prolonged hospitalizations and increased cause of mortality. Therefore, the diagnosis of PH on echocardiography deserves further clinical evaluation, with future studies designed at defining a suitable diagnostic strategy.
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